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Category Archives: Parenting
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity rates have doubled for children and quadrupled for adolescents in the last 30 years. As of 2012, over one-third of both adolescents and children were obese or overweight. It probably goes without saying that those who suffer from childhood obesity endure a plethora of other health risks such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, prediabetes, sleep apnea and joint problems. Physical activity and healthy eating are of course two of the most important factors for preventing childhood obesity, but many families and schools simply have difficulty developing overall lifestyle changes that prevent weight gain. But what if researchers could narrow down the causes of childhood obesity to one or two actionable strategies? Well, a new study in the journal Pediatrics has done just that. Put simply, kids need to eat less pizza.
Everybody knows how important sleep is at any age. For adults, consistently getting a good night’s sleep can boost the immune system, improve mental health, and enhance brain function, as well as lower the risk of diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Many people also believe that sleep can promote memory. Although the actual science behind this claim is just emerging, many people believe strongly that performing tasks such as studying right before going to bed will greatly increase the chances of being able to recall information. Of course, newborns and infants have very different sleep schedules from adults. For the first few months, babies sleep anywhere from 14 to 18 hours per day including naps. So if the notion that sleep can improve memory and learning is true, could babies benefit from performing educational tasks right before taking a nap? A new study says yes.
Everybody knows that fast food is bad for your health. Eating too much of it can lead to all sorts of health conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol – all of which are serious risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. There is some hope on the horizon, though. Some studies show that calories are dropping in general among fast food items. Also, with calorie counts becoming mandatory in many restaurants, people might start making smarter choices when eating out. But while much has been discussed about the physical aspects of junk food, the link between fast food and brainpower isn’t widely known. Does fast food have any effect on your ability to think and learn? Unfortunately, a new study says yes. Even worse, it seems to affect kids – eating too much fast food at a young age could actually impact test scores.
With the Christmas season officially upon us and Black Friday being just days in the past, toy sales are no doubt experiencing a year-end surge. Of course, nobody would give a child a gift that’s obviously risky, but toy-related injuries do happen. Especially engaged parents can try keeping up with the latest product recalls to make sure the products and playthings their children use do not present a risk of injury. Toy recalls in particular certainly aren’t uncommon; for example, Toys”R”Us very recently issued a complete recall for the “Just Like Home” toy toaster set due to the possibility that the toy toast could break into small, sharp pieces that present laceration and choking hazards. Obviously, however, toys don’t necessarily have to be subject to a recall to present injury risks. Now, a one-of-a-kind study shows that toy-related injuries have gone up significantly over the past two decades.
School lunches have been a contentious topic for a few years now. As part of her Let’s Move! initiative, first lady Michelle Obama has played a large part in rallying support for changes that could decrease childhood obesity. Part of this initiative included the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which set new nutrition standards for school lunches and allocated funds for the implementation of those changes. However, not everybody is happy with this. According to the Washington Post, the backlash has ranged from students in Georgia being upset over the removal of fried chicken from their lunch menu to lobbyists and food companies pushing for legislation that would allow school districts to opt out of the new nutrition standards. New information from Virginia Tech researchers might help defend the Obama administration’s actions regarding school lunches, however.
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